Energy dependence of protein translocation into chloroplasts


Correspondence to U. I. Flügge, Institut für Biochemie der Pflanze, Untere Karspüle 2, D-3400 Göttingen


The translocation of in vitro synthesized precursor proteins into intact spinach chloroplasts was investigated with respect to its energy requirement. It was demonstrated that MgATP itself, and not a transmembrane electrochemical gradient across the envelope membrane, promotes protein import. By manipulating the external and the stromal level of MgATP, we provided evidence that MgATP energized the protein import not within the chloroplast but at the outside of the envelope membrane. It is postulated that an MgATP-dependent phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cycle at the outer membrane face was involved in the course of protein translocation into the chloroplast.